Ralph Peters, Islam-hater

Here’s something remarkable. It turns out that Ralph Peters, who has been on a one-man jihad against Islam critics, whom he repeatedly describes as Nazi-like genocidal bigots, has stated the same kinds of views about Islam for which he has attacked others.

I am grateful to VFR reader Justin T. for digging up the revealing quotes. He writes:

Mr. Auster,

When I read Peters’ column in the New York Post, I, too, was stunned by how incredibly politically correct and utterly wrong it was. I have yet to determine why he even wrote it. He was basically repeating leftist talking points, word for word.

But what was even more appalling to me is that it represents a 180 degree turn from comments he has made in the past. I have here a book he published in 1991, while he was still a foreign area officer in the Army, titled The War in 2020. In the appendix, he makes the following remarks about Islam:

But what about the issue of Islamic fundamentalism?

I admire the perfect accuracy of Levi-Strauss’s description of Islam as a “barracks religion,” and I take a far less complacent view of Islamic fundamentalism than do colleagues for whom the only story of our time is the twilight of the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, I see the future of these varied peoples united by a common name for God as condemned to eternal mediocrity. Islamic fundamentalism is an exclusively negative phenomenon.

Only outside enemies, real or imagined, allow the Islamic world to display the odd, fleeting semblance of unity. The destruction of Israel in a nuclear exchange, for example, will be less likely to trigger Islamic unity than to utterly dissolve it. Unable to direct their frustrations at the Zionist devil, the Islamic nations of the Eurasian landmass would quickly rediscover the holy and delectable mission of slaughtering each other over trivia.

And yet even more recently, in a FrontPage Magazine article written only two years ago, June 21, 2004, he said the following:

Religions are what men make of them. In the Arab heartlands of Islam, Muslims are making a gory mess of their faith. It’s time to end the politically correct baby-talk insisting that Islam isn’t the problem. In the decaying Arab world, Islam is the problem—because of the way bitter old men interpret and deform its more humane precepts while embracing its cruelest injunctions. [Italics added.]

The decapitation of yet another American civilian can’t be dismissed as an aberration from “true” Islam. The tradition of beheading unarmed prisoners dates to the earliest decades of the Muslim faith. The butchering of Paul Johnson, Nick Berg and others isn’t a new phenomenon—it’s revivalism, “that old-time religion” returning for a re-match with secular devils. [Italics added.]

Where he stands, I don’t know anymore. He just wrote an excellent essay in Armed Forces Quarterly where he attacked those obsessed with “winning hearts and minds” as delusional, especially in regards to the Islamic world. He’s all over the place. He must have friends who are criticizing him or something, that’s about my best guess.


LA replies:

Wow, so Peters in 2004 said that Islam has “cruel injunctions” and that decapitation of the innocent is part of the true Islam. But today Peters says that anyone who thinks that Islam is the problem is a depraved hater who regards all Muslims as subhuman.

It’s unbelievable. It’s all here—every single attitude, and then some, for which he smeared other people (though he never named them) as the worst people on the planet. One must conclude that Peters is a highly emotional person, who veers from one pole to its opposite. One minute he despises Islam, the next minute he describes as “repugnant” people who say that Islam is the problem. He’s struggling against himself. He attacks the Islam critics so bitterly because their views of Islam are the same as his own, views he can’t accept, because they are not liberally correct. He is both a Muslim critic and a hater of Muslim critics.

In short, Peters seems to represent a new phenomenon: the self-hating anti-Muslim.

- end of initial entry -

Mark G. writes:

You go for a complex explanation of Peters behavior. Let’s try Occam razor principle. Money almost always play a role. Why not here? A very generous stipend for life from some little known Institute for World Peace thru Jihad would buy many a men. It is more likely than some kind of mental instability.

Muslems don’t have to turn Peters into abject apologist. If he keeps attacking Islam critics, he is useful enough.

LA replies:

Others have said the same, and it could be. To me, he seems driven too much by emotion for this to be a satisfactory explanation. But, again, I admit it is possible.

Gilbert writes from the Netherlands:

It’s not that unbelievable! In my country the prime minister Guy Verhofstadt is also a highly emotional person, who—for the sake of power—veers from one pole to its opposite.

Back in 1991, in his second “Burgermanifest”, he had still the audacity to criticize Islam. But after he fell upwards—with the blessing of “the dioxinecrisis”—and became prime minister, he too took a 180 degree turn from earlier made comments and is now a hater of Muslim critics.

Here is what he wrote in 1991:

“De vraag is of de islam wel in overeenstemming te brengen is met de liberale democratie en de vrijheid, de verdraagzaamheid, de verscheidenheid en het tegensprekelijk debat zonder dewelke geen open samenleving mogelijk is….

“Is de zaak Rushdie niet het ultieme bewijs van de onmogelijkheid van de islam zich in te passen in onze samenleving? Toont zij niet aan dat de islam in wezen een intolerante en totalitaire ideologie is die botst met de culturele, morele en juridische voorschriften die gelden in een open en democratische samenleving?”

“The question is however, if Islam can be brought in agreement with liberal democracy and freedom, tolerance, the diversity and rebuttal or cross debate without which no open society is possible….

“Is the Rushdie-case not ultimate proof of the impossibility to fit Islam in our society? Does this case not demonstrate how Islam at its core is a totalitarian ideology, colliding with the cultural, moral and legal regulations which apply in an open and democratic society?”

LA replies:

I agree that politicians shift by 180 degrees all the time. That’s fairly common. But with Peters, he is in the most hateful terms attacking his own position as hateful and Nazi-like. That’s a bit more unusual.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 13, 2006 01:56 AM | Send

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